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Key Objective: 2.3 Strengthen Centralized Conservation Plan

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 2, objective 3 is "Strengthen centralized conservation efforts focusing on building systems to achieve a 30% reduction in total campus building energy use by FY20. This includes meeting LED Campus commitments." 

Associated Metric

Percent Reduction in Energy Use Intensity (Tracked by Fiscal Year)

Potential Strategies

In order to reduce the energy demands of existing building systems, the campus needs to expand centrally funded programs, primarily with additional staff and money.  The following strategies could be pursued in order to achieve additional energy reductions.

Develop a Campus Energy Conservation Master Plan

The campus would benefit from the development of an aggressive energy conservation master plan.  Such a plan would entail a detailed timeline and investment strategy for campus energy conservation including specific strategies and financing mechanisms toward stated campus energy goals.  This is an essential part of any overall strategic effort toward energy conservation, and is also an important input into planning for renewable energy generation and purchasing.  This plan could be developed through a collaboration between experts from our faculty (in various disciplines from engineering to planning), students, and staff.

Expand the Energy Performance Contracting Program

One limitation to effective building energy conservation is capital.  Although investments made in building conservation can have very high rates of return (we estimate between 20-25%), the initial capital needed to make these improvements is difficult to generate for a public entity with many demands on its capital resources.  Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) can be an effective approach to generating capital for energy conservation projects in public buildings. 

An Energy Performance Contract (EPC) is a partnership between the university and an Energy Services Company (ESCO) to execute an energy reduction project in addition to addressing deferred maintenance backlog deficiencies.  ESCOs provide all of the services required to design and implement a comprehensive project at the customer facility, from the initial energy audit through the long-term guarantee of project savings. The EPC provides campus with a set of energy efficiency measures, accompanied with guarantees that the energy savings produced by the project will be sufficient to cover its full cost over the term of the contract.

To date, two EPC projects have been completed with expected energy cost avoidance totaling $2 million annually.  There is already a long-term EPC plan in place to address 20 buildings over the next 8 years.  Targeted buildings are primarily research facilities with higher capital needs and larger energy consumption rates.  Energy conservation projects associated with these buildings have been estimated to be worth over $40 million in capital costs.  Moving forward, a cost-benefit analysis on the ramifications of expanding the EPC program is needed.  This could be part of the larger energy conservation master plan.  Expanding the EPC program to include auxiliary units should also be considered.

Expand the Campus Retro-Commissioning Program

Retro-commissioning (RCx) for existing buildings is a systematic process for investigating, analyzing, and optimizing the performance of building systems by improving their operations to ensure their continued performance over time.  Commissioning of buildings, to properly balance and synchronize mechanical systems, is important in order to realize the full benefits of energy conservation opportunities.  Since August of 2007, over 45 buildings have been retro-commissioned on campus.  These buildings have shown an average energy reduction of 27.8% and a cost avoidance of $4.3 million per year.[1]

Campus could increase funding for RCx so that all buildings on campus get a comprehensive commissioning.  This commissioning needs to be accomplished before some energy strategies take place.  Also, auxiliary units, whose space accounts for 35% of campus gross square footage, could allocate funding to implement RCx in their facilities. Additionally, campus should study the impact of deep energy retrofits in existing buildings as part of the commissioning process.

Expand Campus Maintenance Programs

Sustaining energy conservation gains will require an increase in support for ongoing maintenance, with an emphasis on energy conservation.  Additional resources could be allocated to the campus building maintenance programs with an emphasis on energy along with improved informational transparency in terms of program goals and plans.  This includes the development of a campus deferred maintenance plan that incorporates iCAP goals, as well as other maintenance programs including steam traps, weatherization, and building envelopes.  A program for deploying a building energy maintenance manager in all campus buildings could be considered.    There is enormous conservation potential in this arena.

Follow up Preventative Maintenance (PM) is important for continued energy efficiency performance.  Campus has increased PM funding recently, and it could continue to increase base funding for the PM program.  The campus could also complete a long-term plan and annual report of the PM program to plan for and report on funding, projects, and associated energy conservation results.

Extend Campus Lighting Projects

Lighting technologies are rapidly changing in favor of more efficient lamps and fixtures. Converting to more energy efficient lamps and fixtures has a typical payback period of less than three years.  The campus has over 100,000 fluorescent lamps that have been upgraded from a T-12 standard to a more energy efficient T-8 fixture. The campus could work to complete this overall transition before the end of FY16. 

The campus has committed to becoming an LED campus which requires all exterior fixtures and interior wayfinding fixtures be LED by FY25 and the majority of all campus lighting utilize LED technologies by FY50.  Cost avoidance by implementation of LED technologies typically provides a payback for initial investment within three to seven years.  The Facility Standards could be updated to require that all lighting-related alteration and capital projects use LEDs.  Additionally, the campus could increase funding for the LED transformation, so that the majority of all lighting on campus is LED well in advance of FY50.

Develop a Campus Fume Hood Efficiency Program

There are currently about 1,700 fume hoods in operation on campus and the majority of these are constant-air-volume hoods without heat recovery that operate all day, every day throughout each year.  By performing a systematic evaluation of use schedules, taking unused hoods offline, removing some unneeded and antiquated hoods, and converting to variable-air-volume systems, the majority of energy currently attributable to fume hoods could be avoided.

Campus could coordinate a taskforce to develop an energy conservation management program for its fume hood inventory.  The taskforce could include different stakeholders including research Principal Investigators, the Division of Research Safety, and F&S representatives from Safety and Compliance, Utilities & Energy Services, and Engineering and Transportation Services.  The taskforce could examine of the use of existing fume hoods, identify fume hoods that could be retired, and identify technologies that increase energy efficiency while maintaining research safety. 

Institutionalize Energy Efficiency in Information Technology

Administrative information technology (IT) energy use guidelines could be updated to reflect a heightened emphasis on energy efficiency and general sustainable practices.  Campus could continue to implement low-energy computing and media equipment, server virtualization, consolidation of IT facilities, reduction in the total number of server instances, and computer power management software in computer laboratories, classrooms, and other campus computers.   The campus could also complete and publicize an annual report of the IT energy conservation program, including funding, projects, and energy efficiency results.

Hot Water Heating

The campus energy use for heating water could be reduced by switching to instantaneous/semi-instantaneous hot water heaters, increasing insulation on hot water tanks, utilizing recovered heat from chiller condensers and other sources, and using temperature setbacks where appropriate.  The campus could assess the potential energy savings in this arena, and develop a plan for implementing the best hot water related strategies.


[1] http://www.fs.illinois.edu/docs/default-source/retro/energyprojectsummary_varrate-rpt-1.pdf?sfvrsn=0

 

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